Asan, Chung Ju-Yung (1915-2001)
Chung Ju-Yung, also known as Asan, his sobriquet, is founder of the Asan Foundation and its first chairman (1977-2001). He was born in 1915 in the village of Asan-ri (now in North Korea), Kangwon Province. He was an example of determination, ingenuity and hard work. During his lifetime, he left distinctive imprints at each stage of Korea's move toward modernization and reunification. He died in 2001 at the age of eighty-six, but he will always be remembered as an ever-shining "superstar" in the hearts of the Korean people.
Asan, with his strong willpower and creative spirit, established the Hyundai Motor Company and the Hyundai Heavy Industries out of the ashes of the Korean War and led them to grow into global enterprises. Another giant enterprise, the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company, spearheaded many historic projects around the world, including the Jubail Industrial Harbor in Saudi Arabia and the Sea Dike at Seosan Bay in western Korea.
Asan also played a principal role in making Korea the hosting country of the 1988 Olympic Games. The Seoul Olympics not only gave the Korean people huge pride in their country but also made Korea better known to the world. In 1998, he drove hundreds of cattle to North Korea through Panmunjom across the DMZ, thus playing a decisive role in opening the gate to a peaceful unification of Korea.
He founded the Asan Foundation with the conviction that gains from business should be returned to the society for the people's welfare. With its motto of "Help our needy neighbors," the Foundation has launched non-profit programs in social welfare, medical services, research fellowships, and scholarships for the promising but needy students. He first opened hospitals in rural areas where resources of modern medicine were scarce. In 1989, he established the Asan Medical Center in Seoul with the aim of building a world-class medical institution in Korea.
Asan's famous words, "There are no failures, only trials", will always echo in the hearts of the Korean people.